Title of Poster or Paper
Professor John Rapaglia Professor Mark Beekey
College and Major available
4-24-2019 2:00 PM
4-24-2019 5:00 PM
Effect of storm events on submarine groundwater discharge measured by radon flux
The study of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is of growing importance due to its potential to carry pollutants into the coastal zone. Radon (222Rn) has been used as a tracer of SGD because its concentration is very high in groundwater but low in seawater, due to its source being naturally occurring uranium in rocks. Determining the flux of SGD is important for establishing marine geochemical mass balances in a system. In areas with high rainfall there is the potential for a high rate of SGD, which in turn carries pollutants into the coastal zone rapidly and in large quantities. To determine the effect of strong rainfall on groundwater intrusion, radon was measured continuously using the RAD-7 automated radon detector at three locations along the Mill River in Dingle, Ireland which empties out into the Dingle Bay. Radon concentrations were measured before and after storm events that carried significant rainfall. After rain events, radon levels and radon flux increased which is likely due increased SGD. These data establish that groundwater is discharging into the Mill River and stronger storms can alter the amount of groundwater influencing a coastal system. These calculations of radon flux can be used to determine the rate of other pollutants entering the coastal system that may have an impact on the ecosystem of the bay.